I realize more and more that you can’t please everyone. No matter how hard you try to be the person you think someone else wants you to be, if you’re trying, you’re probably already failing.
These days, I find that, depending on who I’m spending time with, be it my sister, best friend, or boyfriend-of-the-moment, I subconsciously start to mimic those around me.
When I’m with my guy friends, I play the part of the “cool” girl who mocks silly, psycho women who take men too seriously. When I’m with my girl friends, I’m all “guys suck, here’s why” and moan their very existence. Around my parents, I project an image of sweet wholesomeness but then immediately strip that off to morph into an emotionally turbulent 20-something when I’m around those my own age. I’m healthy at work – making vegan lunches and snacking on nuts and seeds, only to chug beer and devour chocolate in the company of those who couldn’t care less about eating well.
And it gets worse.
My laugh will change to resemble the laugh of the person I’m laughing with. My voice will adjust to echo the pitch and timbre of the person I’m talking to. My words and opinions edit and shift to more closely match those of the company I keep.
99% of the time, I’m not even aware that I’m doing these things. But now I realize I regularly abandon pieces of myself and snatch up what I believe to be the best parts of others. In the moment, I never feel like I’m losing my sense of self or aiming to please. It doesn’t feel like I’m projecting “like me like me like me” into the universe, but maybe that’s exactly what I’m doing.
Maybe I’ve been like Gretel dropping pieces of myself like breadcrumbs.
Now that I’m aware of this, this continual loss of self, does that make it a crime to continue? Should I be more tuned in to those times when my voice lowers or my laugh quickens? Should I quit it cold turkey? Or, should I just accept that who I am is contingent on those around me?
I think I adjust my demeanor to allow personal relationships room to flourish. I just hope I’m not sabotaging myself in my quest to please.
I don’t want to be the sum of other people’s actions. I want to be who I am based on what I think and what I feel. But sometimes, I’m not even sure what that is anymore.